John Milton's Epic Invocations: Converting the Muse

John Milton's Epic Invocations: Converting the Muse

by Philip Edward Phillips

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John Milton's Epic Invocations: Converting the Muse by Philip Edward Phillips

A crisis over the function and identity of the Muse occurred in seventeenth-century religious poetry: How could Christian writers use a pagan device? Using rhetorical analysis, Phillips examines epic invocations in order to show how this crisis was eventually reconciled in the works of John Milton. While predecessors such as Abraham Cowley and Guillaume du Bartas either rejected the pagan Muses outright or attempted to Christianize them, Milton invoked the inspirational power of the Muses throughout his poetic career. In Paradise Lost, Milton confronts the tension between his Muse’s «name» and «meaning». While never fully rejecting the Muse’s pagan past, Milton’s four proems (PL I, III, VII, and IX) increasingly emphasize the muse’s Christian «meaning» over her pagan «name». Ultimately, Milton’s syncretic blending of pagan and Christian conventions restores vitality and resonance to the literary trope of the muse.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780820441191
Publisher: Peter Lang Publishing Inc.
Publication date: 04/20/2000
Series: Renaissance and Baroque Series: Studies and Texts , #26
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 159
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.06(h) x (d)

About the Author

The Author: Philip Edward Phillips, Assistant Professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University, received his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. He is co-editor of Carmina Philosophiae: Journal of the International Boethius Society.

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